Kansas News

Indigo Girls bring ‘One Lost Day Tour’ and harmonies to Crossroads KC

IndigoGirlsBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

KANSAS CITY - Fans of the Indigo Girls finally got their hands on new music per the duo’s newest collection of songs on the album One Lost Day, which was released in June of last year. Their 16th album comes four years after 2011’s Beauty Queen Sister.
    But it’s not just the newer music that keeps fans listening intently to the band: the Indigo Girls have been steadily rocking since 1987’s Strange Fire. Even for newer fans, or those not entirely familiar with their entire musical catalogue, it would be hard to miss the infectious crowd pleasers that include Closer to Fine, off their 1989 self-titled release, and Fill It Up Again, from their 2004 album All That We Let In – and those songs only skim the surface of fan favorites.
    The effortless harmonies of Emily Saliers and Amy Ray make their songs contagious and nearly impossible to not sing along. Their live shows can be described as a spiritual experience – even if one has never heard one note of an Indigo Girls’ song, hearing an entire audience sing along, word for word, is a thrill.


Trinity Academy’s anti-gay policy to allow expulsion of students over LGBT family comes to light

TrinityAcademyBy Trevor Reichle, staff reporter

WICHITA - A private Christian school in Wichita has a policy that is upsetting more than just a few people.
    In May, a policy in Trinity Academy’s “Statement of Understanding,” was made public by a few former students. In the agreement that must be signed by the parents and students who attend the school, the policy states that the school reserves the right to expel students if they appear to be “accepting of the LGBT lifestyle” - that includes having LGBT family members.
    The “Statement of Understanding” that Trinity Academy provides is a series of ideas or beliefs that the school follows that parents and students must agree to in order for their child or children to attend the school. If not followed, disciplinary action can take place. This is not an uncommon procedure for many private religious schools.


Lisa Koch brings her comedy and musicianship to Wichita

SummerConcertSeriesBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

WICHITA - Seattle’s own Lisa Koch is one part comedian, one part musician – and she excels at both. Koch describes herself as “Tina Fey meets Bette Midler with Joan Jett guitar chops” – and when you hear her music, the comparisons ring true. Her songs range from flat-out hilarious anthems, like her most popular song, I’m a Middle-Aged Woman, which includes the lyrics “My thermostat has really gone awry / I’m sweating like a pig, while my cha cha is totally dry.”
    Her range and style of music is diverse – songs like the acoustic track Three Times a Year is a somber account of a friendship throughout the years, and Murder by Midnight would sound right at home in a jazz lounge. Other songs have the twang of a country song, or the guitar licks of a classic rock song. She can do it all, and does – effortlessly.
    She began playing music in high school with her brother. In the beginning, she was solely a musician. Then she happened upon a theatrical group and started writing funny songs, and then segued into sketch comedy. “I grew up in funny family, and we always enjoyed laughing,” Koch said in a recent interview with Liberty Press. “In my head I think I’m a musician. Comedy is second, in my brain.”


Kansas City's center, LIKEME Lighthouse, begins capital campaign for permanent home

like-meKANSAS CITY - Kansas City has never had a permanent home for an LGBT community center. LIKEME® Lighthouse-KC wants to change that one person and one dollar at a time.
    The first effort will begin with a fundraiser at Leinenkugel’s on July 9 followed by a Public Forum - Conversation with the Community on July 10 at LIKEME® Lighthouse-KC, 3911 Main Street at 2pm.
    The fundraiser will help to provide LMLKC with the financial support to maintain its current location next year while the board establishes a plan for a capital campaign to purchase a new home.
    “The LIKEME® Lighthouse-KC board members are exercising due diligence to establish a solid business foundation to ensure sustainability for the future,” Felicia Kyle, LMLKC President, stated. “Over the last year the board of LIKEME® Lighthouse-KC has incorporated and obtained its 501(c)3 status with the IRS. In addition, basic business practices and procedures are being developed and LMLKC has installed a secure online system for giving.”
    “This is the beginning of an ultimate goal to grow with the needs of the community,” Kyle said. “It will be the first of many steps toward sustainability and growth for future generations.“ l


Positive Directions hires prevention coordinator

Elizabeth Taylor hopes to educate and expand outreach of organization

By Trevor Reichle, staff reporter

WICHITA - A local HIV/AIDS organization is planning for big changes in the coming months ahead.
    Positive Directions, which was founded in 1999, previously offered both case management and prevention services, but is now moving forward with a  focus solely on prevention.
    The organization has also hired Elizabeth Taylor as their new prevention coordinator as they shift focus. Taylor, a WSU alumni, graduated with her Bachelor’s in Social Work in 2009. She subsequently spent time as a stay-at-home mom and wife and is now re-entering the workforce in assuming this position.
    Taylor does have a personal connection with this area of work; after losing a family member to AIDS, Taylor developed a desire to help those within the HIV/AIDS community.
    The organization plans to expand current programs that are in place in order to reach more people, such as condom distribution, as well as implementing or re-implementing new programs in an effort to be effective at preventing the spread of HIV within the area. The organization is also considering re-instating its Bodyguard program, aimed at equipping volunteers with the necessary education and tools they need to be able to talk openly about HIV/AIDS and answer any questions when in public settings around their peers.
    “We need more education, especially to the youth in the community,” Taylor said. “A lot of them look at [HIV/AIDS] as not a big deal because of all the medical advances in that area. It doesn’t matter your sexuality, race, socio-economic status or anything. It’s here.”



Art For Your Ears returns

MOAUWICHITA - The Ulrich Museum of Art on the Wichita State campus kicks off its 2016 Summer Concert Series on Thursday, July 7 with New Orleans blues guitarist Spencer Bohren.
    Bohren performs a deep repertoire of blues, country, gospel and original songs while telling tales from a lifetime of wandering the world. Next up is acoustic duo Moreland & Arbuckle on Aug. 25, and finally Jazz legend Bobby Watson on Sept. 15.
    Each month, the Ulrich invites music lovers to bring a lawn chair, enjoy free refreshments and relax in the scenery of the WSU campus while enjoying Art For Your Ears. Bohren, and Moreland & Arbuckle will perform on the McKnight Outdoor Plaza, Watson takes the stage at the Duerksen Outdoor Amphitheatre accompanied by the WSU Jazz Band. All events run from 7-9pm and are free and open to the public. Rain location is the WSU CAC Theater. More information at ulrich.wichita.edu/afye.


Bears in the Heat coming in July

Bears-flagsWICHITA - “Bears in the Heat,” the Wichita Bears annual run, will be held from July 14-16 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel located at 221 E. Kellogg. Local bears and bear enthusiasts are welcome to join the gathering for a full weekend of fun activities in the company of bearish men.
    Thursday night the bears will attend the current show at Mosley Street Melodrama. This is not part of the registration. Attendees will have to call the theatre at (316) 263-0222 and tell them they are with the Bears.
    On Friday as people get registered, they will have time to get settled into their room, lounge by the pool or hang out in the hospitality suite. Friday night is the annual bar crawl, which will start out with a tour of Wheat State Distilling to learn how they turn Kansas wheat into vodka or whiskey. After the tour, the bears can purchase a wide range of products from gin to bourbon.
    Other stops on the run will include J’s Lounge, Rain, Club Boomerang, The Back Room, Club Inferno and Rocky’s. Afterwards the hospitality suite will be open.
    Saturday activities include a getting-to-know-Wichita scavenger hunt, more time around the pool and in the hospitality suite, plus the big dinner at Caesar’s Table featuring a buffet. The evening’s entertainment will be a murder dinner mystery set in the 1950’s.
    On Sunday, everyone will check out of their rooms and head for home, or hang around for lunch and a movie. Registration is $65 and available online at www.wichitabears.org.


Mr. and Miss Wichita Pride Pageant

WichitaPride2016WICHITA - In August, Wichita Pride Inc. kicks off by hosting the Mr. and Miss Wichita Pride Pageant at Club Boomerang on Aug. 12 at 10pm.
    This will be a judged pageant with categories such as talent, pride wear, and a question and answer segment. The contestants will be raising money both before and during the pageant as a fundraising opportunity in order to support this year’s Pridefest.

    Anyone wanting to participate as a contestant or in need of more info, contact Ron Anderson atentertainment@wichitapride.org.


Satirist Roy Zimmerman to Perform at First UU Church of Wichita

ZimmermanWICHITA - Singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman, called by the LA Times “a latter-day Tom Lehrer” for his satirical songs about the social and political foibles of the day, performs Sunday, July 10, at 3pm at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita, 7202 E. 21st. Suggested $15 donation at the door.
    Roy Zimmerman’s original songs—about class warfare, creationism, same-sex marriage, guns, marijuana, abstinence, ignorance, war and greed—are often played on progressive radio. He has shared stages with Bill Maher, Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, Kate Clinton and George Carlin. He’s been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and he is a featured blogger for the Huffington Post.
    The concert at Wichita’s First UU church, “Roy Zimmerman: This Machine,” is 90 minutes of Zimmerman’s hilarious, rhyme-intensive original songs. The title references Woody Guthrie and Pete Singer, who famously emblazoned their instruments with the words, “This Machine Kills Fascists” (Guthrie’s guitar) and “This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces It to Surrender” (Seeger’s banjo). Zimmerman’s concert is part of his election year “campaign promise” to perform in all 50 states before the Republican National Convention.


Event to raise money for Orlando victims

WeStandTogetherWICHITA - Following the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. local community members wanted to do something to help. Rev. Jackie Carter and Bobby Hise came together as co-organizers of an event titled “We Stand Together for Love,” to be held at the former Fantasy Complex location.
    The building, located at the corner of Hillside and 31st Street South, is now an event center that has been rented for the July 10 fundraiser. “It’s nice because the bars and the church are coordinating together,” Allen Mairs, the owner of Rain, said. Rain, Club Inferno and Club Boomerang are joining MCC Table of Hope along with organizations WOOLF, The Center, Equality Kansas, Wichita Pride and the Wichita Bears in sponsoring the fundraiser.
    The event, which runs from 4-8pm, will be family-friendly and feature speakers from the community, musical performers, a BBQ, silent auction and a drag show. According to Mairs, part of the proceeds will go directly to the family of one of the victims with Wichita ties, as well as the medical expenses of survivors through the Equality Florida GoFundMe website.



The Power of LGBTQ Love and Anger

By Ramona Liera-Schwichtenberg

My heart hurts. My head aches. The week of June 13 has resurrected memories of being gay-bashed while leaving a club, and losing a friend to gun violence at the University of Iowa in 1991 (six died including the gunman). It saddens me that the most recent shooting of June 12 at the Pulse Nightclub, is yet one more act of terror and hate as President Obama succinctly stated.
    So, like so many times before, the news media, following the mass shooting in Orlando, has been a non-stop dirge, a lament for the victims and wounded, and families whose lives are forever changed.  The new twist is that the hate was directed at the gay community, now mourning the 49 LGBTQ dead. The names and faces are a collage, and the stories of shooter and victims are chanted over and over again as an incantation searching for answers.
    The litany follows the pattern from Sandy Hook, Aurora, Charleston, and others, with:  1) shock, 2) grief 3) gun debate, and 4) inaction. Politicians will exhort us to “pray for Orlando,” as they go about doing the NRA’s bidding with few exceptions.
    But, the murderer and the NRA may have met their match in the social organization and political mobilization of the LGBTQ community. A recent Washington Post article (June 17) notes the community’s organizational expertise as part of a social movement that has waged many battles---from the homophile movement of the 1950s to the Zap actions of the 1970s, and the die-ins of Act-Up in the face AIDS, to finally marriage rights---the LGBTQ community has been a marvel at advancing a model of coalitional politics.
    An injury to one is an injury to all. It’s time to begin to feel again, take a breath, and get damn angry. How dare this macho culture stroked by the NRA make me feel fearful?
    Here, I am cheered by the recent post of my friend, Milton who is going to Orlando with his husband, Michael, and will “go to gay bars, gay resorts, gay bookstores, gay coffee shops and gay restaurants.” He and Michael will “hold hands and kiss and talk about gay things. … meet and hug and laugh with other gay people.” Milton’s exhortation asserts our right to love and live without the fear of gun violence: “We will do all this WITH joy and WITHOUT fear because no one will take our spaces or our spirit or our pride from us. Ever.”
    We all should adopt this politics of love and anger. The NRA should worry; the LGBTQ community is expert in building alliances and getting things done. We will not be cowed or chased back into the closet. We’re coming for those guns, kissing all the way. Gun reform may very well be the “next chapter in LGBT history” (George Takei). l


My Take

Dear editor:
    So the last time I wrote a letter to the editor was in February 2015, at that time I was very outspoken about the state of politics in this country, and it has only gotten worse. Everyone is looking for someone or something to blame for Orlando, Fla., well I’ve come up with a simple answer. Southern Republican-style politics! The “us against them” mentality of we are better than them mixed with the fear of losing the old way we used to live.
    Yes, that grand old time when black men were called boy, when a girl could be sexually harassed and it was just boys being boys, and when the gay community literally was in the closet.
    Yes that is what all those white southern gentlemen want to go back to. Yeah it sounds great if you are a white, middle-aged heterosexual middle- to upper-income male. For the rest of us it is not the American Dream we are working and dying for to gain the dignity that those white southern gentlemen think that they are only entitled.
    Orlando is the blame of every Republican in the nation that thwarts equal treatment under the law; that turns difference into fear. They, for the last 16 years, have used it as a wedge in politics to seize power and in doing so have given rise to terrorism, terrorists that think that if you don’t change then you should not be treated as humans.
    They have made villains of the poor, the sick, the old. They have made people fear the LGBT community by making their talking points on the Sunday news shows as though we are perverts, deviants and predators. Everything that they spew is nothing but a lie to retain their hold on power to make sure the rich get richer, by making us fear and loath each other just for expecting to be treated with the human dignity that each of us are capable of giving.
    No, we as sheep let them manipulate us into coveting what we have and that no one else should be treated as we expect to be treated.
    So yes those White Southern Gentlemen may be to blame for making us fear, loath, even frightened of each other, but we the sheep have made it all possible. Love one another as I have loved you; Love your neighbor as you would yourself. Yeah maybe that’s what we should practice, and that’s my take.

Ray Butterfield






Marcia McCoy, Ph.D.


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